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Museums in New York City

A classical gallery at the Met Museum in New York.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Guidelines and Measures in Place for Reopening Museums and Historical Sites in New York City

As New York City enters Phase 4 of re-opening, along with the rest of the New York state, guidelines have been published for both Indoor and Outdoor Low Risk Arts and Entertainment attractions – which includes museums, historical sites and monuments.

These are some of the measures visitors will encounter during their visits:

  • Indoor attractions such as museums can have a total capacity of 25%, 33% for outdoor attractions
  • All staff and visitors over two years of age will be required to wear face coverings
  • Staff and visitors required to maintain a distance of 6ft between each other
  • Group tours only permitted for members of the same household or party
  • There will be no interactive exhibits that require visitors to make physical contact
  • The flow and movement of visitors through the attraction will be controlled to ensure people do not congregate spaces
  • Visitors encouraged to purchase tickets online, in advance for timed entry
  • Visitors encouraged to move through the exhibit halls in one direction
  • Entrances and exits may be separate

DISCLAIMER – COLOUR CODED BUTTONS: yellow buttons below site/museum descriptions lead you to the official website for that attraction; blue buttons link to further details we have produced based on our own experiences and published on Archaeology Travel; orange buttons link to tickets or activities we recommend that can be purchased via GetYourGuide. To learn more about the products and services we promote read our Code of Ethics.

Selected Tours and Activities in New York City for History Lovers

60-Minute Cruise Around the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – perfect for those who do not want to visit the islands, but see them up close nonetheless.

Edge & 9/11 Museum Ticket with Liberty Cruise – with this ticket you get to visit three of New York City’s most powerful landmarks. A view of the city from the sky deck at the Edge, skip-the-line to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and a cruise around Liberty Island on which stands the Statue of Liberty.

9/11 Memorial Tour and Museum Ticket – this two hour tour explores the memorial sites of 9/11: at St Paul’s Chapel see personal mementos from the day, visit the Memorial Pools, and then enter the Museum with a special access ticket.

Bushwick Street Art Walking Tour in Brooklyn – learn about street art in New York City on this 1.5 hour tour where you will visit the largest outdoor street art gallery in the city and meet a active graffiti

The so-called 'castle' entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

American Museum of Natural History

With over 34 million natural specimens and cultural artefacts, 45 permanent exhibition halls in 26 interconnected buildings, this is the largest natural history museum in the world. Despite the name, the museum also has many galleries displaying cultures from the old and new worlds. When the exhibition on human origins opened in 1921 this was the first museum to address human evolution.

Aerial view of Castle Clinton in New York City.

Castle Clinton

Castle Clinton is a circular sandstone fort located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in Battery Park. The fort was built to replace Fort Amsterdam to protect New York against a British invasion in 1812. After being used as a theatre for some time, Castle Clinton served as an immigration processing centre from 1855. It was the USA’s first such facility until this work was transferred to Ellis Island in 1892.

The New York City skyline with the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building

Built between 1930 and 1931, the Empire State building was the world’s tallest building until 1970 following the construction of the World Trade Towers. It is the height, the observation decks and its Art Deco style that makes this one of the most popular attractions in New York City. And of course it is a cultural icon – since the release of King Kong in 1933, the building has appeared in over 250 films.

Archaeology Travel | New York City | 1

Ellis Island and the National Museum of Immigration

The first place that millions of immigrants ever set foot in the US, Ellis Island looks to tell the stories of these men, women, and children who risked everything for the chance at a better life. Only accessible by ferry, the National Museum of Immigration sits in the original station that greeted new immigrants and the south side of the island including the immigrant hospital can be viewed by tours.

Reopening Discount for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Start your tour by exploring the early history of New York with a guided tour of Battery Park and Castle Clinton. Then take a ferry across the harbour to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty, and then Ellis Island and its Immigration Museum. To mark the reopening of these attractions GetYourGuide are offering a 20% discount. More Information and Booking Online >>

The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island, New York.

Statue of Liberty National Monument and Statue of Liberty Museum

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the USA to mark the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the recent abolition of slavery. The statue stands on Liberty Island, only accessible by ferry. Also on the island is the Statue of Liberty Museum, in which you can see Liberty’s original torch. The interior of the statue, including the pedestal and access to the crown remains closed.

Fordham Museum

The Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Art is made up of just over 260 objects from around the ancient Mediterranean. These artefacts range in date from the 4th millennium B.C. to the 3rd century AD. Although essentially a teaching collection, members of the public can visit free of charge. Not to be missed in the Apulian volute krate, which gives an idea of the quality of this collection.

Fotografiska New York

Fotografiska was founded in Stockholm in 2010, opening its doors at a six-floor, New York historical landmark in December 2019. Only to close in March 2020. The museum does not own a permanent collection and the artwork on display is not for sale. Through a series of ever changing exhibitions, Fotografiska showcases the work of emerging photographers as well as the internationally established ones.

The entrance to the Met Museum on Fifth Avenue, New York City.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

On of the best known and visited museums in the US, the Met holds some of the finest collections of art. These come from nearly every corner of the world and nearly every time period, including several period interiors that range from early Rome to modern America. Thursday 27 and Friday 28 August are preview days for the exhibition 1870 – 2020: the Making of the Met, members only.

Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Given its role in both developing and collecting modern and contemporary art, MoMA is often said to be the world’s most influential museum of modern art. In the 1930s it was the first museum in Manhattan to exhibit European modernism, exhibiting works on loan by Van Gogh, Gauguin and others. Now with over 15,000 pieces, MoMA is thought to have the best collection of modern Western masterpieces in the world.

The 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

9/11 Memorial Museum

The 9/11 Memorial is already open, although with visitor safety measures in place. The Memorial Museum will reopen on 11 September for 9/11 family members to mark the 19th anniversary of the attack. The museum will then reopen to the public the following day. The memorial and museum is on the former site of the World Trade Center, the Twin Towers of which were destroyed during the attacks on 11 September 2001.

The entrance to the Brooklyn Museum, New York City.

Brooklyn Museum

There are over 1.5 million works of art in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum. Of particular note is the collection of Egyptian antiquities, artefacts that span a period of 3,000 years. Besides an impressive collection of American art, the museum has notable collections of European, African, Islamic, Oceanic and Japanese art. The museum is also home to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

A medieval altar from Spain in the Met Cloisters, New York.

The Met Cloisters

A satellite of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Fort Tryon Park, north Manhattan, the Met Cloisters displays European medieval art. The reconstructed cloisters were inspired by various medieval architectural features in Europe. On display are some 2,000 artefacts and objects that range from the 12th through the 15th centuries, including tapestries, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts and enamels.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

The Guggenheim

Following the founding of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1937, the first New York gallery opened in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright The Guggenheim in the city in 1959 and has become one of the leading galleries for modern and contemporary art. Opening on 3 October, with special viewing for members and patrons from 30 September to 2 October.